Researchers are finding nuggets of truth in bad jokes

Have you ever heard the one about the doctor, the priest and the lawyer? 

Researchers who published a new report in Journal of Medical Internet Research monitored the jokes people publish on Facebook about doctors.

“Alright, here’s a joke,” says Matthew Davis, a researcher with The Dartmouth Institute of Health Policy and author of the new report: 

“There are two different patients that both need a hip replacement. The first patient gets care right away. The second one gets treated a month later. The first is a golden retriever and the second is a senior citizen” - Matthew Davis

Davis knows many of the 150 jokes posted on Facebook were pretty lame; the study is less about jokes and more about how social media opens the door for doctors to connect to their patients says Brookings Farzad Mostashari

“If a company like Facebook really took on healthcare and created a separate type of service they could solve the real problems healthcare has around communication and connection with patients and their families." - Farzad Mostashari

Mostashari imagines some kind of secure feature that lets patients share vital medical information with all of their doctors and family.

It’s the kind of coordination the healthcare system is spending billions on trying to invent.


About the author

Dan Gorenstein is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Health Desk. You can follow him on Twitter @dmgorenstein.


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